Business is a game, and games should be fun. Like most games there are rules, goals, and points. Money is the points system in business. There are many contestants, but only a handful of winners.
The winners get freedom to explore the world and spend their time doing as they please, whether that’s helping others in their communities, or devouring expensive caviar and driving cars with doors that go up and down instead of out.
Keeping in mind that you are playing a game can lower the pressure and make you think about business and money in a different way.
Have Fun: You’re going to die soon*. Find people to love and have fun with them.
Learn Something: We’re an inquisitive species. Do right by your species and figure things out, then share your findings.
Do Your Best: Everything you do has your signature on it.
*within 100 years, which is soon.
We’ve been building Cardinal Spirits for about three full years now. What have I learned so far?
Quite a bit about starting and running a distillery. A lot about running a business. A lot about what I’m actually good at and what I enjoy doing. A lot about my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve decided to write down some lessons I’ve learned. I’m going to try to write something every week. Here it goes.
You should always try to strengthen your strengths rather than improve your weaknesses. With work, you can become great at something you’re already pretty good at, but with the same amount of work you can only become mediocre at something you’re weak at. Don’t waste time trying to become mediocre at something. For me, whether it is writing, shooting photos, designing labels, making new products, or developing new businesses, I’m at my best when I’m creating something. …
The act of creation must be one of the big things we are here to accomplish. If we are the universe observing itself, it makes sense. The universe is constantly changing, growing, adapting, creating. Right as you read this, billions of stars are being created by fusing available materials into something brand new. Those stars are creating new galaxies. On a smaller scale, all of the molecules in existence are attracted each other. Gravity draws different things together to form new things.
As sentient beings with modern tools, we are in position to arrange molecules and create new things with the same amount of control and precision that has formerly only been available to fate (or God, or the universe, or whatever name you have for the magical unknown forces that govern our existence). …
That’s a dramatic principle called Chekhov’s Gun. In its simplest form, it means that anything written into a story must be there for a reason. I’ve come to see it as a basic rule of humanity as well: Available tools will always be used. As inherently curious creatures, we will never be able to not use something that we have access to. Think of it personal terms — your eating habits. If you fill your pantry with Doritos and Mountain Dew, you’ll probably eat Doritos and Mountain Dew. …
The cat is out of the bag.
What once was a secret is now common knowledge, even outside of the circle of distillers, bartenders, and spirit geeks…
The shelves at any given liquor store are full of bottles that appear to be very different products, made in different places by different companies.
But peek behind the curtain, and the majority of the “craft spirits” in those bottles are manufactured at a handful of huge distilleries.
We’ll talk about this problem a little deeper in a minute, but for now, here is my working answer when someone asks me ‘what is craft?’…
Indiana is a fine state. You know that, because you live here. There’s a good chance you live in a town or city that offers electricity and running water. You definitely have the internet, unless you’re reading this on one of the handwritten copies I mailed to lucky strangers in Indianapolis.
You probably know someone who lives elsewhere, who has talked about driving through Indiana, or flying over it. They might not say it outright, but the tone of their voice and the words they choose seem to say “Yeah I’m aware that people live in Indiana. They grow corn there. …
Ethanol is a clear liquid psychoactive drug that produces in animals a state of euphoria and decreased inhibitions (or increased liberations). It makes dull people slightly more interesting, and makes interesting people slightly less intimidating. It is dangerous when overused, but so is everything else.
Alcohol has been consumed by humans since the Neolithic, around 9,000 years ago. Monkeys and rodents drink. People in hunting tribes drink. World leaders drink.
In the semi-finished basements of homes across America right now there are men gathering in small groups to drink alcohol. It helps them shed their masculine concepts of restraint and emotionlessness. …